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The Southern States of America
Chapter II - Texas as a Republic


Texas Revolts from Mexico.

By the Florida treaty of 1819 the United States ceded to Spain whatever title it may have acquired to Texas through the Louisiana Purchase. The next year Moses Austin applied for permission to settle an American colony in the province. The Spanish government granted the permit, but the death of Moses Austin left the fulfilment of the contract to his son Stephen. In December, 1821, Stephen F. Austin reached Texas with the nucleus of the colony. Mexico had then declared independence and established a de facto government, and Austin learned that it would be necessary to get from it a confirmation of his father's grant. This he eventually obtained, and by 1825 he had gone far toward settling the 300 families for which his contract called. Meanwhile, the Mexican government had adopted a general colonization law offering extremely liberal terms to colonists, and a flood of immigration was pouring into Texas. Contemporary statistics vary greatly, but a conservative estimate of the Anglo-American population in Texas by the middle of 1835 would place the number between 25,000 and 30,000 souls. Most of the colonists were from the Southern states, and many of them had slaves. They settled along the lower courses of the Guadalupe, Colorado, Brazos and Trinity rivers, and occupied themselves in farming, raising cattle, hunting and fighting Indians. Their surplus products they exchanged in New Orleans for agricultural implements, machinery, flour, sugar and clothing. In 1834 their exports were estimated at $500,000 and their imports at $900,000.

The Texas revolution cast long shadows before. Mexico distrusted her adoptive citizens, and the Texans had the usual pioneer contempt for an alien race. In December, 1826, a handful of Americans at Nacogdoches started an insurrection and declared Texas independent. This was called the Fredonian Rebellion. It was quickly suppressed, largely through the help of the colonists, but Mexico may well have found in it food for uneasy reflections on the character of the ungrateful Americans. In 1829 President Guerrero, while temporarily invested with dictatorial power, issued a decree liberating all the slaves in the republic. By strenuous efforts the Texans secured the exemption of Texas from the law, but they were alarmed, and considered the decree a wanton interference with their interests. The next year their indignation was increased by the law of April 6, which, in effect, forbade the further immigration of Americans into Texas. The law was never enforced, but it remained a constant menace and a source of irritation to the colonists. In 1832 hard fighting occurred between the Texans and the Mexican garrisons at Anahuac, Velasco and Nacogdoches, and by the middle of the year most of the soldiers were expelled from the country. At the same time Santa Anna was leading a successful attack on the tyrannical government of President Bustamante in Mexico, and the Texans declared that they were helping him to maintain the republic. Santa Anna could not reasonably resent their unsought assistance, but he probably put little faith in their protestations of patriotism. In 1833 the colonists held a convention at San Felipe to ask, among other things, for the separation of Texas from Coahuila, to which it had been united for administrative purposes in 1824. They said that the joint legislature, containing an overwhelming majority of Coahuilans, frequently sacrificed the interest of Texas. They adopted a provisional state constitution, and sent Austin to Mexico with a memorial praying for its approval by the general government. This was neither granted nor definitely denied, and Austin, his patience exhausted by the delay, finally advised the Texans to organize a state government without waiting longer for authority to do so. His letter came to the hand of Vice-President Farias, who was then exercising the executive functions, and he imprisoned Austin on a charge of treason. The Mexicans regarded the convention of 1833 as merely the usual preliminary to a revolution, while the Texans thought the imprisonment of Austin an arbitrary infringement of the sacred right of petition. Thus by the end of 1834 there existed an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion which rendered mutual understanding or forbearance impossible, and made the revolution almost inevitable.

settling the 300 families for which his contract called. Meanwhile, the Mexican government had adopted a general colonization law offering extremely liberal terms to colonists, and a flood of immigration was pouring into Texas. Contemporary statistics vary greatly, but a conservative estimate of the Anglo-American population in Texas by the middle of 1835 would place the number between 25,000 and 30,000 souls. Most of the colonists were from the Southern states, and many of them had slaves. They settled along the lower courses of the Guadalupe, Colorado, Brazos and Trinity rivers, and occupied themselves in farming, raising cattle, hunting and fighting Indians. Their surplus products they exchanged in New Orleans for agricultural implements, machinery, flour, sugar and clothing. In 1834 their exports were estimated at $500,000 and their imports at $900,000.

The Texas revolution cast long shadows before. Mexico distrusted her adoptive citizens, and the Texans had the usual pioneer contempt for an alien race. In December, 1826, a handful of Americans at Nacogdoches started an insurrection and declared Texas independent. This was called the Fredonian Rebellion. It was quickly suppressed, largely through the help of the colonists, but Mexico may well have found in it food for uneasy reflections on the character of the ungrateful Americans. In 1829 President Guerrero, while temporarily invested with dictatorial power, issued a decree liberating all the slaves in the republic. By strenuous efforts the Texans secured the exemption of Texas from the law, but they were alarmed, and considered the decree a wanton interference with their interests. The next year their indignation was increased by the law of April 6, which, in effect, forbade the further immigration of Americans into Texas. The law was never enforced, but it remained a constant menace and a source of irritation to the colonists. In 1832 hard fighting occurred between the Texans and the Mexican garrisons at Anahuac, Velasco and Nacogdoches, and by the middle of the year most of the soldiers were expelled from the country. At the same time Santa Anna was leading a successful attack on the tyrannical government of President Bustamante in Mexico, and the Texans declared that they were helping him to maintain the republic. Santa Anna could not reasonably resent their unsought assistance, but he probably put little faith in their protestations of patriotism. In 1833 the colonists held a convention at San Felipe to ask, among other things, for the separation of Texas from Coahuila, to which it had been united for administrative purposes in 1824. They said that the joint legislature, containing an overwhelming majority of Coahuilans, frequently sacrificed the interest of Texas. They adopted a provisional state constitution, and sent Austin to Mexico with a memorial praying for its approval by the general government. This was neither granted nor definitely denied, and Austin, his patience exhausted by the delay, finally advised the Texans to organize a state government without waiting longer for authority to do so. His letter came to the hand of Vice-President Farias, who was then exercising the executive functions, and he imprisoned Austin on a charge of treason. The Mexicans regarded the convention of 1833 as merely the usual preliminary to a revolution, while the Texans thought the imprisonment of Austin an arbitrary infringement of the sacred right of petition. Thus by the end of 1834 there existed an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion which rendered mutual understanding or forbearance impossible, and made the revolution almost inevitable.

At this juncture Santa Anna began to carry out his plan of substituting a centralized government for the federal republic created by the Constitution of 1824. He was probably correct in the assumption that the mass of Mexicans were not capable of self-government, but that fact did not make the change any more palatable to the Texans who had such a capacity. In May, 1834, he dissolved congress, and state governors and legislatures that opposed his scheme he deposed. In the fall he caused a reactionary congress to be elected, and in May, 1835, this congress declared that it had authority to reform the constitution. On October 3 it issued a decree abolishing the federal system and establishing a centralized government, with practically complete power in the hands of the president.

In the fall of 1834, in pursuance of his general plan, Santa Anna decided to send 4,000 soldiers to Texas to revive the garrisons and custom houses, the former of which had been almost and the latter entirely abandoned since 1832. The troops began to arrive early in 1835. Ostensibly they were to replace the militia, which was now abolished, in protecting the settlements from the Indians, but the colonists suspected that this was merely a benevolent pretext for establishing a military tyranny. In May trouble began to develop over the collection of customs, and in the same month Santa Anna abolished the legislature of Coahuila and Texas. The next month he imprisoned the governor. Agitators spread alarming rumors among the Texans that Santa Anna intended to drive the last Anglo-American beyond the Sabine, and reports reached Santa Anna that the Texans were obstinately resolved to resist the introduction of more troops into the country—which, of course, made him more determined to send them. Throughout the summer the colonists were busy organizing committees of safety and correspondence, and holding public meetings to discuss the situation. The formal expressions of these meetings were uniformly conservative and favorable to submission until it should become certain that the new system would work a real hardship on the colonists, but the fact that they were held at all was proof to the Mexican mind that the colonists were plotting rebellion. In August, to reach some common agreement, the Texans decided to hold a general consultation on October 15, at which each community should be represented by seven delegates. Before this met war began.

In this gradual way the revolution developed. It does not seem to have been caused in any sense by slavery. Critical historians have abandoned the theory that a deliberate conspiracy of Southern slave-owners produced it; and there is not sufficient evidence to establish the responsibility of Texan slaveholders. The Mexican laws had, by 1832, closed every loophole to the perpetuation of slavery, but in all the discussion by the Texans of their grievances against Mexico this is referred to only twice.

The outbreak of hostilities delayed the meeting of the consultation until November. It then issued a declaration of the causes for which Texas had taken up arms, created a provisional government and adjourned to join the army. Texas was declared to be fighting to preserve the federal constitution of 1824, which Santa Anna had overthrown, and all loyal Mexican patriots were invited to cooperate with it. The provisional government consisted of a governor, a deputy-governor and a legislative council composed of one representative from each delegation in the consultation. All were elected by the consultation.

The first clash of arms occurred at Gonzales (October 2), where a company of dragoons attempted to take a cannon which the government had lent to the settlement some years before for protection against Indians. After repelling the soldiers the colonists determined to march against the garrison at San Antonio de Béjar. Stephen F. Austin, who had just returned from his Mexican prison, was called to the command, and by the end of the month he was before San Antonio. The garrison was commanded by General Cos, a brother-in-law of Santa Anna. It was too strong to take by storm without artillery, and Austin sat down to a trying siege. He was recalled from the army at the end of November to go on a mission to the United States, and the command fell to Colonel Burleson. On December 5 the latter reluctantly allowed B. E. Milam to lead an assault on the fort, which, on the 9th, was successful. General Cos evacuated the town, and was permitted to withdraw from Texas on parole. In the meantime a garrison had been driven from Goliad, and by the end of 1835 there was not a Mexican soldier in the country.

This condition, however, did not long continue. By the end of February, 1836, Santa Anna was at San Antonio with upwards of 2,000 men, and on March 6 he took the fort of the Alamo by storm and put to death the last member of the defending garrison. Here fell W. B. Travis, the heroic commander of the Alamo, and with him perished James Bowie and Davy Crockett. Another division of the Mexican army commanded by General Urrea advanced on Goliad, where Colonel Fannin was intrenched with some 400 volunteers from the United States. At his approach Fannin, by General Houston's orders, abandoned Goliad and marched eastward. He was overtaken by Urrea in the bare prairie and after a desperate all-night battle, in which the odds against him were four to one, he surrendered—at discretion, says Urrea, but on condition that the men should be transported to the United States, say numerous Texan witnesses. The men were taken back to Goliad, imprisoned for a few days and then led out in squads and shot by command of Santa Anna. This was at the end of March. Santa Anna then ordered a general advance eastward to make good his threat of driving the Texans beyond the Sabine.

By this time Texas had elected delegates to a convention with full powers to organize a permanent government. The effort to sustain the constitution of 1824 was futile, because the majority of Mexicans were utterly indifferent to the form of government under which they lived. The alternatives left to the Texans were submission or independence, and they chose the latter. The convention met March 1, on the 2d it issued a declaration of independence, and on the 17th adopted a constitution. Pending the election of regular officers, it appointed ad interim David G. Burnet president and Lorenzo de Zavala vice-president. Gen. Sam Houston had already been elected commander-in-chief of the Texan army by the provisional government, and the convention confirmed the election.

Near the middle of March Houston went to Gonzales, on the Guadalupe River, to take command of the vanguard of the Texan forces. Reports of the Alamo massacre determined him to fall back to the Colorado. Later the news of Fannin's disaster at Goliad drove him to the Brazos. Santa Anna followed him, burning Gonzales and San Felipe in passing. The colonists took a notion that Houston was afraid to meet the Mexicans, and many of his men left the army to place their families in safety. A panic-stricken mass of fugitives, mostly helpless women and children, began a wild flight to the Sabine. Santa Anna, too, apparently believed that Houston would not fight him, and with only 800 men recklessly pushed far to the eastward in the hope of capturing the government, leaving Houston encamped at an inaccessible spot on the Brazos in his rear. He burned Harrisburg, and marched on to the head of Galveston Bay. On his return Houston barred his way near the junction of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River. Here Santa Anna received a reinforcement of 500 men under General Cos, who had broken his parole, but on April 21 Houston with 783 men utterly routed his 1,100. This was the battle of San Jacinto. Santa Anna was captured the next day, and a few days later signed a treaty in which he agreed to withdraw the Mexican army west of the Bio Grande, and to use his influence with the government to obtain recognition of Texan independence. To do this it would be necessary, of course, for him to return at once to Mexico, and the Texan government pledged itself to send him back. It was on the point of doing so—Santa Anna had already embarked on a schooner bound for Vera Cruz—when a band of volunteers from New Orleans arrived at Galveston and demanded the retention of the arch-murderer in Texas to receive punishment for his crimes. Whether, if he had been permitted to return, he would have worked for the recognition of Texas cannot be known, but he had a clearer perception than any other important Mexican of the difficulty of conquering the province, and it is possible that he would. As matters turned out, Mexico refused to ratify the treaty and disavowed any promises that Santa Anna should make while a prisoner, but the army did withdraw from Texas.

Mexico never recognized the independence of Texas, and constantly threatened invasion to subjugate the rebellious province, but with the exception of two marauding expeditions in 1842 no hostile force reached the country. The government was paralyzed at home by periodic outbursts of the Federalist party.

On Oct. 22, 1836, General Houston was inaugurated first president of the Republic of Texas. From December, 1838, to December, 1841, the office was held by Mirabeau B. Lamar. He was succeeded by Houston for a second term, December, 1841, to December, 1844. The last president was Anson Jones, whose term was cut short in February, 1846, by the installation of the state government. The first congress of the Republic passed an important act Dec. 19, 1836, asserting that the southern and western boundary of the country was the Rio Grande from its mouth to its source. In 1837 the independence of the Republic was recognized by the United States, and in 1840 by Great Britain, France and the Netherlands.

The United States in the Texas Revolution.

It is necessary to turn now to the "Texas Question" in the United States and see how it involved that country in the chain of events that led to the Mexican War, and forced wide the chasm already opening between the slave and the free states.

There had been a Texas Question since 1803—did the Louisiana Purchase extend to the Rio Grande? In 1819 President Monroe and his cabinet, greatly to the chagrin of the secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, decided to give up the Texas claim and accept the Sabine as the western boundary of the United States. When Adams became President in 1825, and again in 1827, he tried to get a readjustment of the boundary which would leave all, or a part, of Texas to the United States, offering Mexico $1,000,000 for a line following the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers. Joel E. Poinsett was minister to Mexico at the time, and he never found a favorable opportunity to put the proposal before the government. In 1829 President Jackson appointed Anthony Butler to succeed Poinsett, and renewed the effort to get a more satisfactory boundary. He offered $5,000,000 for a line through the "Desert or Grand Prairie" west of the Nueces. Butler, in his own tortuous manner, kept the matter before the Mexican government—or some officials of the government—for the next six years, but without success or any reasonable ground of hope. He repeatedly begged permission to use a part of the purchase money to bribe influential Mexicans, but President Jackson always replied that he wanted Texas, if gotten at all, to be gotten "without the imputation of corruption." These attempts to purchase Texas caused Mexico, when the revolution began, to suspect a connection that did not exist between that movement and the government of the United States.

During the revolution the Texans expected help from the United States, and they received it. One of the first acts of the provisional government was to send three commissioners, of whom Austin was one, to the United States to solicit assistance. In January, 1836, the commissioners negotiated two loans in New Orleans for $250,000, and established an agency for forwarding volunteers and supplies to Texas. They then journeyed slowly up the Mississippi and Ohio valleys to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and thence to Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Washington. Everywhere they aroused, by their speeches and writings, enthusiastic sympathy for the Texans. Public meetings were held, money and supplies generously contributed, and volunteers pledged to "emigrate" to Texas and fight the Mexicans. Many individuals went from Pennsylvania, a company from New York, several companies from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, while nearly all of Fannin's ill-fated band were from Georgia. In Kentucky and Tennessee the ladies fitted out companies by their donations. The interest of the volunteers was not entirely unselfish; some went for adventure and some for the liberal land bounty that Texas offered soldiers. The majority of them did not arrive until after the battle of San Jacinto, when the war practically ended, but it is a fact that for the success of the revolution Texas was greatly indebted to assistance from the United States.

The Mexican minister, Gorostiza, was not blind to what was going on, and time and again called the attention of the state department to what he considered breaches of neutrality. The department, after each complaint, would send off a batch of circular letters to United States district attorneys, commanding them to prosecute any infraction of the law, but the reply invariably came back that the attorneys could not make a case; the law did not prohibit individuals from emigrating to a foreign country with their property (arms), and after arrival their government claimed no jurisdiction to prevent them from enlisting with the party of their sympathy. Doubtless, President Jackson was not averse to seeing the revolution succeed, but there is no good reason to accuse the government of dishonesty in avowing its impotence to check the migration to Texas. Public opinion was overwhelmingly favorable, and it is extremely doubtful whether a jury would have returned a conviction for the most palpable breach of the law upon vigorous prosecution. A district judge in New York instructed the Federal grand jury that it was not a violation of the law to hold meetings and appoint committees *' to provide means and make collections for the purpose of enabling the inhabitants of Texas to engage in a civil war" with Mexico; and a New Orleans paper declared that Government could not prevent "any citizen from taking passage in any merchant vessel, to go anywhere and with any intent, and with arms and munitions of war." Three years later similar conditions existed on the northern frontier, and though President Van Buren cannot be suspected of undue sympathy for the Canadian rebels, he found this same law inadequate to prevent breaches of neutrality, and at his request Congress temporarily strengthened the hands of the executive to enable him to maintain order.

President Jackson feared that the Indians would take advantage of the trouble in Texas to ravage the frontier. By the terms of a treaty of 1831 between the United States and Mexico, each country agreed to keep its own Indians from molesting the other; and Jackson held that if, for any reason, Mexico became unable to fulfil its part of the contract, it would then be the duty of the United States to protect itself, even to the extent of entering Mexican territory. Early in 1836, therefore, he ordered Gen. E. P. Gaines to the Louisiana frontier, and gave him authority to cross the Sabine and march as far as Nacogdoches if he thought it necessary. Whether or not Gaines honestly thought it necessary, he did go to Nacogdoches—though not until the battle of San Jacinto had practically ended the revolution— and his attitude unquestionably did much to encourage the Texans. Gorostiza protested against the discretionary powers given to Gaines, and when he became certain that the latter had crossed the boundary, he asked for his passports and returned to Mexico. This did not suspend diplomatic relations with that country, however; he had been an extraordinary envoy, and the regular minister remained. Gaines was recalled by the President, who declared that he had acted without sufficient justification. The incident strongly reminds one of the situation on the Florida frontier in 1818, when Monroe was President and General Jackson was cast in the role of Gaines.

The barbarous massacres at the Alamo and Goliad aroused great horror and indignation in the United States, and as early as April, 1836, Congress took up the question of acknowledging Texan independence. Both the House and the Senate debated it through May and June, and in July each passed a resolution ''that the independence of Texas ought to be acknowledged by the United States whenever satisfactory information shall be received that it has in successful operation a civil government capable of performing the duties and fulfilling the obligations of an independent power." Austin wrote to Houston (June 16) that nothing but the lack of official reports of the battle of San Jacinto deterred Congress from according recognition at once. During the summer President Jackson sent Henry M. Morfit as a special agent to observe and report on conditions in Texas. Morfit saw much to encourage the belief that Texas would be able to maintain a stable, independent government, but Mexico was making prodigious threats of invasion in the fall, and he advised that recognition be withheld until the result of this invasion was seen. Jackson accordingly counseled delay in his message of December 21, but Congress took up the matter, nevertheless, and Feb. 28, 1837, the House made an appropriation to pay the salary of a diplomatic representative to Texas whenever the President should think proper to send one, while the next day the Senate formally resolved, by a vote of twenty-three to nineteen, that the independence of Texas ought to be acknowledged. Jackson immediately appointed Alcée Labranche of Louisiana chargé d'affaires to Texas. The Mexican minister protested, but was informed that it was the practice of the United States in such cases to regard only the facts; that Texas had a de facto government and appeared capable of maintaining it; that its recognition by the United States must not be regarded as implying a lack of friendship for Mexico or a denial of its right to resubjugate the province if possible. It is significant to notice that the Senate vote in favor of recognition was a close one, and that a motion the next day to reconsider was lost by a tie, while in the House John Quincy Adams was already presenting memorials against the recognition of Texas because its constitution protected slavery.

Steps Toward Annexation with. United States.

In September, 1836, the Texans held their first election, and at the same time voted on the question of annexation to the United States. The vote in favor of annexation stood 3,277 to 91. President Houston, therefore, as soon as recognition made way for it, lost no time in bringing the matter forward. On Aug. 4, 1837, Memucan Hunt proposed to President Van Buren an "amalgamation of the flags" of the United States and Texas. He pointed out that such an arrangement would by no means be without value to the United States, which would gain the great natural resources of Texas, a market for manufactures, control of the Gulf, freedom from competing with Texas cotton in Europe, and many other advantages which he forebore to mention. He dropped a hint that it would be well for the United States to decide quickly, for Texas was then negotiating commercial treaties with European powers, which, when completed, might hinder annexation. Van Buren successfully withstood the alluring temptation, and replied that at present he did not care even to consider whether the constitution would permit the incorporation of a foreign independent country into the United States. To this, Hunt answered in effect that the United States had been given its chance and must never blame Texas for the evil consequences of its rejection: "The refusal of this Government to accept the overture must forever shield her (Texas) from the imputation of wilfully injuring the great interests of the United States, should such a result occur from any commercial or other relations which she may find it necessary or expedient to enter into with foreign nations." Hunt suggested to his government that it might be possible to obtain annexation by joint resolution at the next session of Congress, but the attempt was not made. In the session of 1837-38 Congress was flooded with memorials for and against annexation. Opposition to the extension of slavery territory was the motive of the anti-annexationists, of whom Adams was the chief. In October, 1838, Texas formally withdrew Hunt's proposal of the previous year, and the first stage of the annexation movement was at an end. In December President Lamar succeeded Houston for three years, and as he was a bitter opponent of annexation the project temporarily languished. But, as Professor Garrison says, the Texans were as willing as ever to be annexed, and the question had to be decided not by them, but by the people of the United States.

Lamar's administration must be credited with securing the recognition of Texas by Great Britain, France and the Netherlands; with a wise educational policy; with the only attempt ever made to realize the Texan statutory boundary of the Rio Grande to its source; and with an astonishingly unintelligent financial policy which plunged the country into hopeless debt.

The reelection of Houston in December, 1841, was justly regarded as the first move in the renewal of the annexation agitation. Meanwhile the desire for expansion was wakening in the United States. In December, 1841, Adams confided to his diary his alarm at the outlook and his determination to fight to the last breath the addition of more slavery territory to the Union. Throughout 1842 and 1843 legislatures and popular meetings were forwarding petitions to Congress for and against annexation. Most of the opposition, however, came from outspoken abolitionists, and commanded slight respect. The press began to discuss the question on its own merits, unconnected with slavery; merchants began to realize the commercial importance of the country; and there arose a general and widespread fear that England would get a foothold in Texas, unless the United States forestalled it. It was rumored that England, already the principal creditor of Mexico, had advanced a large sum for an invasion of Texas, and the marauding raids of March and September, 1842, lent point to this belief. An editorial in the Philadelphia Public Ledger of July 24, 1843, asked why England, the foremost champion of abolition, should interest itself in the slave state of Texas, and answered that its object was to strengthen itself against the United States; from Canada on the North, the Bahamas on the East, its ports in the South and its Pacific Islands and Oregon in the West, it could already assail us, and now it wanted Texas as a nearer approach. Besides, England needed Texas for its cotton-producing facilities, which would make it industrially independent of the United States. It could pacify English abolitionists by freeing the slaves in Texas on the apprentice system, and satisfy the owners by a money compensation. In April, 1844, the Ledger expressed its impatience with the absurd "Anglo-maniacs" who thought that England did not want any more territory on the continent, and asked when England had abstained from taking any land that it could get and holding what it got. This fear of British designs on Texas was unquestionably sincere. The present state of our knowledge does not enable one to say whether there was really any danger, but there was abundant ground for suspicion.

In October, 1843, Secretary of State Upshur told Van Zandt, the Texan charge at Washington, that President Tyler wanted to open negotiations with him for the annexation of Texas by treaty, and said that recent events in Europe made the subject an important one. This referred to a discussion of Texas in the House of Lords in the previous August. Van Zandt replied that he would consult his government and give Upshur an answer at the earliest date. In December President Houston wrote Van Zandt to decline the offer for the present; that he feared the Senate would refuse to ratify the treaty; that Texas had, with the help of England, arranged an armistice with Mexico and was negotiating for a recognition of independence with good prospect of success; that the reopening of the annexation question would cause Mexico to end the armistice and invade Texas; and that England might keep its hands off, and leave Texas to face the Mexicans alone. Upshur apparently assured Van Zandt that he had enough pledged votes in the Senate to make the treaty safe, and Van Zandt then asked whether the President would, pending ratification, send a military force to the frontier and a fleet to the Gulf to protect the country from foreign attack. In February, 1844, Upshur was killed by the explosion of a gun on board the Princeton, while making a trial trip down the Potomac, and it was said that he never replied to Van Zandt's question. In Texas, however, the same question had been put to the United States charge, W. S. Murphy, and he assured the government without hesitation that Texas would be guaranteed from invasion while the treaty was pending, and that the United States would be slow to withdraw its forces after a failure of the treaty, if it did fail, in order to allow Texas time to prepare its defense. Later Murphy was compelled to say that he had exceeded his power in giving this assurance; but on April 11, 1844, Calhoun, who had succeeded Upshur in the state department, informed Van Zandt that the troops and fleet had been disposed as he desired, and the treaty was signed the next day.

The treaty recited that the people of Texas, in 1836, voted almost unanimously for annexation, said that the same unanimity still existed, and declared that annexation would increase the security and prosperity of both Texas and the United States. Texas ceded all her public land, works and resources to the United States, and the latter assumed the Texan debt to an amount not exceeding $10,000,000. Texas was to be organized territory, subject to the constitutional rights of other territories, and was to be admitted to statehood when qualified. The treaty was to be ratified within six months. President Tyler sent it to the Senate, April 22, with a long message explaining his views of its importance. He said that annexation ought not to be regarded in a sectional light, but that it would benefit all sections. Texan institutions and ideas would harmonize with those of the United States; the North would gain a valuable carrying trade and a market for its manufactures, and the South would gain security from domestic and foreign enemies. Moreover, annexation was necessary to save the country from Great Britain. The Senate debated the treaty until June 8, and then rejected it by a vote of thirty-five to sixteen. The vote was cast on party rather than sectional lines, the Whigs opposing and the Democrats favoring annexation. The President immediately sent into the House all the papers concerning the negotiation, and asked it to annex by joint resolution, but Congress adjourned on the 17th without action from the House.

Mexico had been an interested spectator, and May 30, 1844, notified the United States that it would consider annexation a cause of war, and that a declaration would automatically follow the ratification of the treaty.

Annexation had become the issue of the presidential campaign of 1844. Henry Clay, opposed to immediate annexation, was the nominee of the Whigs. Van Buren was the leading candidate of the Democrats until a month before the meeting of the national convention, when he published a disingenuous letter conveying the intelligence that he, too, was opposed to immediate annexation. It lost him the nomination. The convention on the ninth ballot all but unanimously nominated James K. Polk, who had frankly avowed his wish for annexation without delay, and adopted a platform declaring for the immediate "reannexation" of Texas, reannexation implying, of course, that Texas had been a part of the Louisiana Purchase, and that in taking it again the United States would merely be reclaiming its own. In the fall Polk was elected, and President Tyler was, no doubt, justified in taking this as an indication that the people wanted Texas annexed.

In the meantime President Houston was cleverly embarrassing the administration. August 6 his secretary of state, Anson Jones, notified T. A. Howard, the United States charge d'affaires, that Mexico was preparing for an invasion, and demanded the protection that had been promised. Howard replied that his government would fulfil its obligations, but a reference to the correspondence showed him that protection was assured only during the pendency of the negotiations, and he thought that they ceased pending when the Senate rejected the treaty. However, he admitted that the subject was important, and said that he would refer it to the state department. Calhoun approved his construction of the correspondence, but told him to inform the Texan government that President Tyler was determined to protect Texas to the full extent of his limited powers. At the same time Calhoun wrote to Mexico that the President considered the question as still before the people, and that he would regard an invasion of Texas as "highly offensive" to the United States. To this Mexico replied that it would not be intimidated by the President's threats to desist from the effort to regain what was its own.

Annexation Accomplished.

In the annual message of December, 1844, President Tyler again placed the Texas question before Congress and urged speedy action. On the 9th McDuffie in the Senate, and on the 12th C. J. Ingersoll in the House, introduced joint resolutions incorporating the rejected treaty. Numerous other resolutions were offered in both Houses. On Jan. 13, 1845, Foster in the Senate, and Milton Brown in the House, both Whigs from Tennessee, introduced identical resolutions for the annexation of Texas as a state: it must present a properly authenticated constitution for the approval of Congress by Jan. 1, 1846; its boundaries should be settled by the United States; it should cede to the United States its mines, minerals, public edifices, fortifications, barracks, harbors, navy, navy-yard, arms, custom houses, etc., but should retain its debt and public lands; under no circumstances should the United States assume the debt; it might, if it desired, be divided into five states, which upon qualification would be admitted to the Union, provided that the territory south of the parallel of 36° 30' should be free or slave as it chose. This was amended to read, "and States formed out of territory north of 36° 30' to be free," and, so amended, the bill passed the House January 23 by a party vote of one hundred and twenty to ninety-eight. On the 25th it went to the Senate, which discussed it almost daily until February 27, and then passed it with an amendment that the President might offer Texas annexation by joint resolution or negotiate another treaty de novo.

Benton and some other senators claimed that Tyler had promised to take no action under the resolution, and that Polk had pledged himself to proceed by treaty. However this may be—and it seems doubtful—Tyler lost no time in despatching an agent to Texas, Andrew Jackson Donelson, to offer annexation by the joint resolution. Polk was inaugurated the next day, but did not think it wise to rescind Tyler's action, because he feared to subject the matter to the hazard of a treaty that would have to run the gauntlet of the Senate and would require a two-thirds majority for ratification. He, as well as Tyler, was convinced that Texas was on the point of closing some arrangement with Great Britain that would prevent its accepting annexation, and the fear was quickened by the fact that President Jones was believed to be opposed to annexation. Donelson was therefore instructed to hasten, and to meet any objections of the Texans with liberal promises.

Mexico delivered its usual protest. After the passage of the joint resolution Colonel Almonte asked for his passports and left the United States, and March 22 Mr. Shannon was given his passports in Mexico with a notice that diplomatic relations with his government were ended.

At the same time Mexico realized at last the hopelessness of again subjecting Texas, and proposed to acknowledge its independence if it would refuse annexation. On July 4, 1845, President Jones laid this proposal and the offer of annexation before a convention at Austin, and with only one dissenting vote it accepted annexation. It then adopted a constitution for submittal to Congress in December. The constitution was approved, and on December 29 President Polk signed the bill which formally admitted Texas to the Union. On Feb. 16, 1846, Anson Jones yielded the government to Governor Henderson, and bade farewell to the Republic of Texas.

Texas fared better by the joint resolution than it would have done by the treaty. Its debt was not assumed, but it retained its public lands, and in 1850 the Federal government bought its boundary claims for $10,000,000, with which it paid the debt; and it entered the Union at once as a state, while the treaty would have organized it as a territory.

At the end of its decade of independence Texas had outlived its greatest hardships. Its debt amounted to nearly $11,000,000, it is true, and it was regularly defaulting the interest; but the receipts were equaling the actual running expenses of the government, and the future and the boundless public domain, in a sense, secured the debt. The white population in 1847 was just over 100,000, and there were 38,000 slaves. At the same time taxable values in the state were assessed at $44,000,000, which included 44,000,000. acres of land, 24,000 town lots, 35,000 horses and 382,000 cattle. For the fifteen months ending Oct. 31, 1845, the imports of the country amounted roughly to $1,250,000, and the exports to $829,000. President Lamar's administration had laid well the foundation of a wise educational system, but conditions had not favored its development. However, the census of 1850 showed 448 schools and academies in the state, with 11,500 pupils. At the same time there were thirty-four newspapers with a circulation of 19,000.

Bibliography.—The standard histories of Texas for this period are Bancroft, H. H.: North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco, 1884-89); Brown, J. H.: A History of Texas (2 vols., St. Louis); Foote, H. S.: Texas and the Texans (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1841); Garrison, George Pierce: Texas: A Contest of Civilizations (Boston, 1903); Kennedy, William: Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prosperity of the Republic of Texas (2 vols., London, 1841); Wooten, D. G. (ed): A Comprehensive History of Texas (2 vols., Dallas, 1899); Yoakum, Henderson: History of Texas . . . to its Annexation to the United States in 1845 (2 vols., New York, 1856). The best account of the negotiation for annexation is in Garrison, George Pierce: Westward Extenstion, Vol. XVII., in The American Nation (New York, 1906). The book contains also a critical bibliography. The sources of the history of Texas are still largely manuscript; a collection of documents on the causes of the revolution made by the writer was published in Publications of the Southern History Association, Vols. VII.-IX.; and Professor Garrison has in press two volumes of the diplomatic correspondence of the Republic, which will be issued as a report of the Manuscript Commission of the American Historical Association. Niles' Register contains many valuable documents, and others are to be found in the Senate and House documents of the United States Congress.

Eugene Campbell Barker,
Ajunct Professor of History, University of Texas; Co-editor, With the Makers of Texas.


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